Iran in the Crosshairs

When the United States invaded Iraq in order to destroy a nonexistent nuclear threat there were national and world protests. Opposition to that war was loudly voiced by American politicians and world leaders, as well as in mass demonstrations across the globe. Despite the protests, the war proceeded as planned. Today it seems that it is generally agreed that the Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation were catastrophic mistakes.

Now the same people that gave us Iraq, and remain just about the only supporters of their own failed policy there, are signaling that it is necessary to destroy the Iranian nuclear threat. And again, one problem is that this threat may not exist.

This time, however, the opponents of the threatened attack are surprisingly few, even as the signs of a coming air assault on Iran continue to increase. This lack of articulated opposition to military action against Iran, especially by members of the Democratic Party and their supporters, increase the chances that the Bush/Cheney administration will widen the war in the Middle East either directly or by using Israel as a proxy.

“Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran’s nuclear complex,” according to David Martin of CBS News. Martin quotes Michael Oren, a CBS analyst, who is an American-born Israeli and well-connected to his government’s reliable sources, as stating, “[t]he Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearize [sic].”

While Israel pressures the Americans via diplomatic and military channels, the U.S. Congress will shortly give its overwhelming support to two identical non-binding resolutions that will demand that President Bush impose a military blockade on Iran. H.Con Res. 362, the House version, and S.Res. 580, the Senate version, demand:

[T]hat the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program . . .

These resolutions are a direct result of the efforts of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who shortly after their annual convention in early June, deployed 5000 activists to 500 separate meetings on Capitol Hill, using their vast influence to promote this anti-Iranian legislation among U.S. lawmakers.

Both resolutions will have the wide bipartisan support in both branches of Congress that AIPAC-sponsored bills invariably receive. Even if the idea of the blockade goes nowhere, the resolutions signal that the vast majority in Congress will either support or will not object to military action against Iran.

Rumors and threats of either an imminent U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran have been increasing during the past month. According to the Jerusalem Post, Israeli Army Radio quoted an unnamed senior member of President Bush’s entourage as saying, during the President’s visit to Israel, that Bush and Cheney were “of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for.” The White House immediately denied the report. President Bush had just given a particularly bellicose speech to the Israeli Knesset where he bluntly pledged that the U.S. would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Reminiscent of his “Axis of Evil” speech, the President listed Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda as enemies and spoke about a “battle of good and evil.”

The Asia Times claimed that Bush plans an air attack in Iran before August. The source is an unnamed former assistant U.S. Secretary of State who is active in the foreign affairs community. The article goes on to say that Senators Diane Feinstein and Richard Lugar have been briefed about the planned attack. Both Senators denied receiving any briefing, but since the information is classified it would be impossible for them to verify the existence of such a plan without violating the law. According to the Asia Times, the target of attack would not be the Iranian nuclear installations but rather the Quds force, which are the elite forces of the Iranian army. Time magazine in an article titled, “A Clamor for War,” treats the possibility of an attack against Iran as worrisome and real. The piece says that many in the Congress think that the administration will “bomb Iran between November and January.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had a 90-minute meeting with President Bush in Washington at the beginning of June. It had been widely reported that Olmert would make the case for an American air attack against Iran. After their talk Olmert proclaimed, “we reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less [sic] question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it and intends to act on the matter before the end of his term in the White House.”

When Michael Gordon reported in the New York Times on June 20, that Israel had a dress rehearsal for an attack on Iran that involved 100 fighter planes using NATO airspace off the coast of Greece, neither the U.S. nor Israel denied the report. Prior to that report Shaul Mofaz, the Israeli Transportation Minister, who is in the inner defense cabinet, told the Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, that Israel would attack Iran since the sanctions are not working.

One thing is certain: there is a clear possibility of a strike against Iran in the near future. The CBS story claims that Israel is now telling the United States, either you do it or we will. Unfortunately, whoever does it is courting a major disaster. An attack on Iran could provoke a retaliation that could quickly widen into a third American war in the region. Vulnerable targets include Israel, shipping in the Gulf, and American troops in Iraq. The reasons for attacking Iran are clearly less about that country’s nuclear threat and more about the neo-con project for American hegemony in the region, as well as what the current Israeli government perceives as its security interests. It is all too reminiscent of the false reasons given for invading Iraq. Unfortunately, just as before the Iraq war, many American political opposition voices are reluctant to criticize an aggressive Iran initiative for fear of being labeled weak or unpatriotic.

It is disappointing that the Democrats who came to power in 2006 by purporting to be antiwar, are proving yet again that just as they have been incapable of stopping the Bush/Cheney debacle in Iraq, they are equally ineffectual in opposing the looming next war, the one with Iran.

Ira Glunts first visited the Middle East in 1972, where he taught English and physical education in a small rural community in Israel. He was a volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces in 1992. Mr. Glunts lives in Madison, New York where he operates a used and rare book business, writes and is a part-time reference librarian. He can be reached at: gluntsi@morrisville.edu. Read other articles by Ira.

22 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozhidar balkas said on June 30th, 2008 at 5:28am #

    “dems ineffectual in opposing the looming next war”
    this is a conclusion and not a fact.
    i wd replace the word “ineffectual” w. unwilling for some dems and.
    many others, as far as i can make out, r even to the right of bush and r eager to attack iran, syria, lebanon.
    anent palestine i estimate that 95% of all politicos want to utterly destroy palestine. thank u

  2. evie said on June 30th, 2008 at 6:01am #

    The sky is falling the sky is falling fear mongering. Bible thumpers eat it up as wars and rumors of wars equal end times prophecy. The “left” eats it up as it gives them a “cause” or a talking point.

    You quote sources from CBS, NYT, JP, Asia Times, Time, etc. All media that’s fit to propagandize.

    Every time the US or Israel performs a drill or deploys a ship – it’s imminent war, according to “reliable sources.”

    Yes, the republicans are monsters and the equally monstrous democrats prove yet again they are incapable of stopping BushCo’s looming war with Iran. Wailing and gnashing of teeth – where fart art thou oh savior of America…

  3. Michael Kenny said on June 30th, 2008 at 10:15am #

    The interesting thing about all this is that any attack on Iran now would actually suit Iran! That Bush and his crew might be too stupid to see that, I can well imagine, but it would surprise me if the Israelis were that stupid. Sabre rattling suits the Israels very well. An actual attack would discredit them and their sole surviving protector, the US. Are the Israelis panicking as US power collapses? If I was Ahmadinejad, I would simply say “bring ‘em on”!

  4. Shabnam said on June 30th, 2008 at 12:21pm #

    Ahmadinejad is not stupid. “Any attack on Iran now would actually suit Iran!” Michael Kenny: I never heard such a stupid and irresponsible statement anywhere on this site. You must be either an enemy of Iran or totally ignorant of international affairs to say such a thing. Iran has suffered greatly by Iraq war beyond your narrow imagination. Iraq war was encouraged by the US and her allies and supported by Arab financial aid. The war left more than 700,000 death bodies and thousands of cripples and destruction of number of cities. Who wants that? The US – Israel – Britain, the real axis of evil, have been busy to apply the game of the imperialism and Zionism, divide and rule, to destabilize Iran for the past few years. The Kurds, Ahwazi and Baloch are trained by the US – Israel and Britain to kill authorities and conduct terrorist activities inside and near the Iranian border to create terror and fear to speed up the destabilization process for final act. The Kurds are given military training and are considered enablers and as a result they have presented themselves as enemy and no one trust them We need people to shake their behind and stop shopping and start acting to make a lot of noise that send a fearful message to the fifth columnists in the WH, senate and the congress that if you attack Iran we will set your place of authority on FIRE. If you are impotent to impeach the war criminals then stop Cheney’s medical care or give him the same medical care that ordinary American people have so he soon enough says GOOD BYE. Why do you want to extent his criminal activities to Iran on Israel behalf? Everyone must be mobilized to stop these war criminals to commit another crime against humanity. People should stop talking in such a way that attack on Iran is “unavoidable” or it can not happen. Act like a grown up.

  5. Jim Harris said on June 30th, 2008 at 12:43pm #

    It is urgent that we do all we can to stop 362. It is not because it would be immediately followed by the naval blockade that it urges President Bush to implement. But because it sets in motion yet another provocation to Iran, with the aim being to goad Iran to take some action that would provide a political cover for a US military attack.
    Read more:
    http://stopaipac.org/iranresolution.htm
    Contact your congressperson. NOW.

  6. Sam said on June 30th, 2008 at 2:31pm #

    The article says:

    Quote: It is disappointing that the Democrats who came to power in 2006 by purporting to be antiwar, are proving yet again that just as they have been incapable of stopping the Bush/Cheney debacle in Iraq, they are equally ineffectual in opposing the looming next war, the one with Iran. End quote.

    The Dems are not “incapable” of stopping Bush/Cheney, if they wanted to. The Dems have no intention or interest in stopping Bush/Cheney, because the Dems work for them. That’s why “impeachment is off the table” and has been since before 2006. The Dems have worked FOR the Bush Regime since 2000. And to say that they are “incapable” gives the impression that the Dems are somehow opposed to Bush when actually just the opposite is the case. The Dems have helped Bush accomplish most of what he has accomplished, examples: Alito, Roberts, USAPATRIOT ACT, 2 illegal wars/occupations, illegal spying, torture, “impeachment off the table”…the list goes on.)

    Also, many months ago (since the Dems became the majority in power) they gave Bush authority to attack Iran **without** seeking congressional approval. They did the same thing again recently. Pelosi (that Bush-enabling woman who thinks the US Constitution—what’s left of it—belongs to her) removed language from a bill requiring Bush to seek congressional approval for attacking Iran.

    Anyone surprised? You shouldn’t be at this point.

    When the day comes that people FINALLY see the Dems for who and what they really are (as opposed to what people want them to be), people will stop asking why there is so little opposition from the Dems. At this point it is very clear to those who want to see it.

  7. dan e said on June 30th, 2008 at 3:35pm #

    well said, Sam.

    I myself have stopped Coalitioning, socializing, participating in events featuring Democrats, including those who claim to be “progressive” (of America or anywhere else;)

    I think we need to start discussing how to implement a Boycott of all these Demo Pty phonies, and all their enablers. But where to draw the line? Clearly all officeholders & candidates shld get the cold shoulder, the silent trtmnt. So should professional Demockrat operatives, County Cmte members etc.

    It gets tricky, because to apply the boycott across the bd means you have to boycott, for instance, the Latino members of the local school board, who have a better record than most in opposing “charter school” scams etc. On the other hand, these Latino activists are among those who need to hear the message the most, who cd benefit the most from having the whole deal explained to them, that is assuming they aren’t really vendido cynical about the whole game.

    Same thoughts apply to LBGT, other minorities, Women’s Rts, even Welfare Rts is a timber in the edifice erected by the USZIPC.

    I realize I’m personally not competitive, but having understood the basic principles of The Game what I CAN do is refuse to participate in any more mummery.

    If you have any better/clearer ideas, I’m all ears. Thanks.

  8. Hue Longer said on June 30th, 2008 at 4:25pm #

    “Today it seems that it is generally agreed that the Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation were catastrophic mistakes”.

    Generally agreed upon by those believing the given mission statements.

  9. evie said on June 30th, 2008 at 4:30pm #

    True Hue, true.

  10. Neil Benson said on June 30th, 2008 at 9:35pm #

    While I would never under estimate the current administration’s stupidity and arrogance, I’m still a little skeptical that it would launch an unprovoked attack against Iran. The administration and this country look so foolish having invaded Iraq under false evidence. We would have no support, outside of Israel, anywhere in the world. We are in the brink of a recession that could easily turn into a depression with $200+a barrel plus oil if we could even get it. Fear mongering, hate mongering, and a whole host of negative emotions pervade the nation as one of the least popular and least effective presidential regimes can’t come quickly enough to an end.

  11. Sam said on June 30th, 2008 at 11:57pm #

    Neil,

    We are already in a recession, not on the brink of one. We are on the brink of a depression:

    http://www.housingpredictor.com/depression.html

    You wrote that you are skeptical about the Bush regime’s intent to attack Iran. Have you read PNAC?

    As for Bush/Cheney, even if they leave office in January 2009 (which I’ll believe when I see it…I don’t think they have any intent of going anywhere), their regime will not be coming to an end by any means. The entire Bush Republicrat Crime Family will still be in place. And phony Hope/Change Obama is already talking about using some of the operatives from the Bush regime in his own regime, should he be allowed to occupy the White House.

  12. Masih Ghorbani said on July 1st, 2008 at 2:21am #

    Well, I presume a war on Iran is quite possible given the new irresponsible war threats against Iran by Israel and the US government. Another war in the region means total chaos and insecurity not only in the region but also in the entire world. With the influence Iran wields in the region, the Muslims will unite under one umbrella to combat war against Iran. The Shia Muslims in Iraq will surely play a very important part in paralyzing the warmongering efforts of the US or Isreali regime. But the question is why should they attack Iran? Is it really a threat to world peace? If there is any real threat, that is Israel.

  13. bozhidar balkas said on July 1st, 2008 at 10:55am #

    to me, US invasion of iraq was not a catastrophic mistake nor is US governing class stupid.
    governing class knows what it wants. judging by much evidence, rulling class is satisfied w. the sit’ns in iraq, afgh’n, and palestine.
    if it wasn’t satisfied what it is doing now it wd do some changing.
    the war against iraqis is and will forever be willful crime for landgrab and in no way can this crime can be called “mistake”.
    “mistakes” r forgiven;ie, not punishable by law; people who do crimes r or ought to be prosecuted.
    people who call US crimes “mistakes” undermine work by cucinic.
    and i thought that most DV’s commenters were radical voices for justice/fairness. thank u

  14. hp said on July 1st, 2008 at 11:35am #

    It seems ironic to say voices for justice and fairness are radical.
    A sign of the times.

  15. Shabnam said on July 1st, 2008 at 12:25pm #

    Please wear a “GREEN” T-shirt or something else in Green on July 14 and on until July 25th continually to protest against any military aggression on Iran. This is a warning against those who violate the International law for their expansion of power and influence around the world. These war criminals must expect to be overthrown by our unified actions if should they deny our demands. All options are on the table to save humanity from criminal acts. Iranian people who have been under attack since the Iranian revolution, militarily and economically, are fed up with double standard policy where the violators are rewarded and those who have followed the UN rules are punished. Iran will not abandon her rights to enrichment which is protected under the NPT where Iran is a signatory and demands that the war criminals recognize Iran’s right.

    Please everyone ask other people to wear GREEN T – shirt starting July 14, 2008.

  16. Sam said on July 1st, 2008 at 2:51pm #

    Shabnam wrote:

    Quote: Please wear a “GREEN” T-shirt or something else in Green on July 14 and on until July 25th continually to protest against any military aggression on Iran. This is a warning against those who violate the International law for their expansion of power and influence around the world. These war criminals must expect to be overthrown by our unified actions if should they deny our demands. End Quote

    How is a purely symbolic gesture of wearing a green t-shirt a warning against anyone and who will know what a green t-shirt means?

    These war criminals must expect to be overthrown by “our” unified actions should they deny our demands? Really? Who is this “our” that you’re referring to? Who exactly is supposedly going to overthrow these war criminals?

    If it’s the 10-20 people (who comment on some message boards) or 100-200 people who comment on other message boards…is that the “us” you’re referring to? If so, I don’t think that is going to cut it and won’t overthrow anybody. Instead, that group will end up in one of the Bush Regime’s already-in-place concentration camps.

    Since protests in general are getting smaller and smaller especially here in the States, the group that I can think of who would likely be interested in what you’re talking about is very, very small in the big scheme of things. Most people couldn’t be bothered. They are more interested in the dumb-downed stupidity shows on television and whether they have a job to go to and home foreclosures. And most people are too overweight to even walk one block or even walk out to the car and wouldn’t dream of overthrowing anybody, and couldn’t do so even if they tried.

  17. Sam said on July 1st, 2008 at 3:45pm #

    dan e wrote:

    Quote: I myself have stopped Coalitioning, socializing, participating in events featuring Democrats, including those who claim to be “progressive” (of America or anywhere else;) End Quote

    Me too. I stopped after the Judicial Coup of 2000. And on some issues (immigration comes to mind) some so-called “progressives” sound no differently than the rabid haters who spew the Michael Savage/Limbaugh hate. Many people—including some so-called “progressives”—need somebody to hate and try to feel superior to, it seems.

    Especially at this point in time, the word Democrat is as repugnant to me as the word Republican. That’s why I outright dismiss suggestions from others that people waste their time/money and call, write, e-mail, fax or visit these Republicrat senators or representatives who don’t represent me whatsoever or have any intention of doing so. Period. We see how much good calling, faxing, e-mails and visits have done since 2000!. Zero. These people in congress don’t care what “we” think whatsoever and I suppose some people will never come to realize that. Now, if I were a lobbyist or CEO at some war-profiteering or military industrial complex corporation these Bush-enablers in congress would welcome me, have lunch with me, party with me and get all snuggly because I would be what they are all about, but these congressional people don’t care what “we” think…the few of us that “we” are in the big scheme of things. These Republicrats just give the illusion at election time that they care what “we” think, and many people still fall for it.

  18. hp said on July 1st, 2008 at 6:57pm #

    Kosovo did it for me.

  19. Shabnam said on July 1st, 2008 at 8:05pm #

    Sam:

    Thank you for your attention. I am so concerned about what Bush and associates might do next that urge me to find ways that might raise awareness and build unity among American people. Majority of the people in the Middle East and Asia are against the war. If you go to other sites that are dominated by Arabs you will see majorities of the Arab population are supporting Iran and are opposed to any aggression against Iran. This is quite significant knowing that Arabs and Persians did not have a good relationship due to propaganda of the establishment of both cultures. Now the situation is quite different. Thanks to George Bush and the neocons
    Your questions are fair and deserve to be answered. When I wrote this suggestion I was hoping everyone does her/his share to pass this message to someone else and hopefully in a few days millions of people will get this message and follow it through and thus we will have millions of people going to work and walking in the streets of North American cities with Green T-shirts on the designated days which might carry “Make peace not war” message. I chose Green because it is sign of ‘fertility and life’ in Iranian culture. You write:
    “These war criminals must expect to be overthrown by “our” unified actions should they deny our demands? Really? Who is this “our” that you’re referring to? Who exactly is supposedly going to overthrow these war criminals?”
    I am referring to American people and other population of North America as “our” to overthrow the veil of ignorance responsible for survival of the war criminals through protest.
    I know it is too much to ask but wouldn’t you at least try it first before rejecting it. If obama and Ron Paul could collect millions of dollars through the internet why not us do the same and mobilize people around the message ‘make peace not war’. I hope Americans have the courage to do this much. Anti War movement should get involve as well. Do you have other suggestions? People of the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa are paying a heavy price for American peoples’ ignorance, inactivity and obedience. The current situation can not be tolerated anymore.

  20. Sam said on July 1st, 2008 at 9:46pm #

    Shabnam wrote:

    Quote: I know it is too much to ask but wouldn’t you at least try it first before rejecting it. If obama and Ron Paul could collect millions of dollars through the internet why not us do the same and mobilize people around the message ‘make peace not war’. End Quote

    Well, I wish you well with this but realistically I don’t see it going anywhere. The reason I rejected it is because people have been calling for this type of thing and things like it since 2000, and look where we are. For example, there have been—at last count—three “National Strikes” called in this nation. They were all failures. Most people went to work. No one shut down anything. Most people couldn’t be bothered or didn’t know about the National Strikes and even if they did know about them, they apparently went to work. So, my point is that the idea of 3 National Strikes so far has gone nowhere.

    The reason Obama and Paul were able to collect millions through the Internet is because they are “celebrity” politicians in congress with a D or R behind their name.

    You wrote…
    Quote: The current situation can not be tolerated anymore. End Quote.

    Well, unfortunately it will continue.

    Since 2000, I’ve been advocating that millions and millions need/must take to the streets in every city and town across this nation and especially in the District of Columbia when these international war criminals and their enablers are there (White House and Capitol Hill). It ain’t happened and it’s not about to happen, unfortunately. Many/most people could care less. In fact, when I took part in protesting the 2000 stolen “election,” I was told to “get over it” by other people in this nation. 2004 came and no one protested that stolen “election.” In fact, John Kerry couldn’t get to the microphone fast enough to concede to George Bush after Edwards had said that every vote would be counted.
    Yeah.

    And no, at this point, I don’t have any suggestions other than to leave the country. That’s about it. Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more people say that’s exactly what they are planning to do. Some have already left.

    Pretty soon, México will be putting up fences to keep the undocumented people from the States out of their country. Turn about is fair play.

  21. bozhidar balkas said on July 2nd, 2008 at 6:39am #

    hp’
    i’m glad u spotted the word “radical” in my statement ab. radical voices for justice/fairness,
    i see now word “radical” is a redundancy
    thanx

  22. hp said on July 2nd, 2008 at 7:30am #

    Not personal bozhidar. I like you and your thoughts.
    Just a small attention getter.
    Come to think of it, fairness and justice ARE radical thoughts.
    Always have been.